No, You Shouldn't Skip SPF This Summer—These Formulas Are The Best

best sunscreens
The Best Sunscreens, According To DermatologistsTaia Leituala


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Whether you enjoy frequent picnics in the park, are often jetsetting to a tropical beach somewhere, or just love working remotely on your back porch, there’s one thing you're seriously going to need: A quality sunscreen for both the face and body.

And that holds true on cloudy days, too, according to the American Academy of Dermatology Association. “Daily sunscreen use is important for two main reasons: Skin cancer prevention and anti-aging,” says dermatologist Gary Goldenberg, MD, founder of Goldenberg Dermatology in New York City.

Peep a few of the best sunscreens, below:

What to consider:

  • SPF number: Look for the number 30 or higher, according to dermatologist and Women's Health advisor Mona Gohara, MD.

  • SPF type: The type of SPF you choose (mineral or chemical) is totally up to personal preference. If you are acne-prone or prefer a sheer application with no white cast, a chemical sunscreen might work best for you according to dermatologist Elyse Love, MD. And if you have sensitive skin, or want your sunscreen to start working immediately application, she recommends a mineral sunscreen. Chemical sunscreens tend to be easier to rub in and for the skin to absorb, and are fine to use in moderation, says dermatologist Sheila Farhang, MD. But mineral sunscreens are typically more highly recommended by derms. "Physical blocking sunscreens, sunscreens that contain zinc or titanium, protect against a broader spectrum of rays," adds dermatologist Caren Campbell, MD. Another bonus of using a physical sunscreen is that its ingredients are safer to use during pregnancy.

  • Key ingredients: "Look out for niacinamide, which calms the skin and improves skin tone and texture," says Dr. Love. Other than that, look for ingredients that support your skin type and goals. For example, if you want to brighten your skin, you'll look for something with vitamin C in it. If you have dry skin, seek out hydrating ingredients like hyaluronic acid.

  • Broad spectrum: "When a sunscreen has broad spectrum SPF in it, it means the skin is being protected against both UVA and UVB rays," says Dr. Gohara, so you'll want to choose a sunscreen with that phrase on the label.

How we selected:

Women’s Health editors and contributors are constantly testing the bestselling, most popular, and top-rated cosmetics and skincare products, including sunscreens. For this story, our team consulted several dermatologists and a handful of WH staff members for feedback to narrow down the best sunscreens. Our final selection includes a variety of chemical and mineral formulas that offer adequate sun protection for all skin types.

Ahead, Women's Health editors polled dermatologists in addition to our staff to get their favorite sunscreens on the market. Whether you have oily, dry, or combination skin, there's something on our list for you.

Unseen Sunscreen Body SPF 40

Supergoop! is a favorite among dermatologists and consumers for its super-clear formulas—and rightfully so! This all-over version of the brand's star product—the Unseen Sunscreen SPF 40—does the same thing its predecessor does: it goes on invisible, feels velvety and weightless, and offers out-of-this-world sun protection.

"So many sunscreens have given my skin this heavy, greasy feeling right after I apply them, and on a really hot day in the sun, sometimes that can make you feel even hotter," says WH senior beauty editor, Danielle Jackson. "This formula is so light that I almost forgot I even had it on. It really makes you feel like you're not wearing anything."

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fsupergoop.com%2Fproducts%2Funseen-sunscreen-body-spf-40%3Fvariant%3D40253950165090&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.womenshealthmag.com%2Fbeauty%2Fg27332336%2Fbest-sunscreen%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Unseen Sunscreen Body SPF 40</p><p>supergoop.com</p><p>$42.00</p><span class="copyright">supergoop.com</span>

Hydrating Sunscreen Face transparent Tint SPF 30

With over 30,000 five-star reviews on Amazon, it's no surprise that CeraVe's oil-free lotion has the heart of former Women's Health editorial assistant, Olivia Evans, who loves that it gives her face a gorgeous, natural glow. Dermatologist Fatima Fahs, MD, gives it a rave review, too. “I never ever leave home without sunscreen! I love using this tinted formulation for its lightweight coverage."

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/CeraVe-Sunscreen-Hydrating-Mineral-Titanium/dp/B07YLKXV11/ref=sr_1_5?crid=8JD22K5PU899&keywords=Hydrating+Sunscreen+Face+Sheer+Tint+SPF+30&qid=1683301423&rdc=1&sprefix=hydrating+sunscreen+face+sheer+tint+spf+30%2Caps%2C226&sr=8-5&tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C2140.g.27332336%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Hydrating Sunscreen Face transparent Tint SPF 30</p><p>$13.74</p><span class="copyright">courtesy</span>

UV Daily Broad-Spectrum SPF 40

Dr. Campbell is a fan of EltaMD's sunscreen, as are Lindsay Geller, Women's Health's lifestyle director, and Amanda Lucci, our deputy editor of content strategy. "It contains hyaluronic acid, so I love recommending it to patients with drier skin types," says Dr. Campbell.

Note: Our editors with medium to dark skin tones say this leaves a white cast on their skin.

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00464EC1E?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C2140.g.27332336%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>UV Daily Broad-Spectrum SPF 40 </p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$31.20</p><span class="copyright">Courtesy</span>

Make It Matte™ SPF 45

Tired of white casts? This sunscreen brand—founded by a Black woman—was created with darker skin tones in mind. "There's nothing more disappointing than being excited to test a new sunscreen, only for it to leave a white or purple cast on your skin," says Jackson. "This formula is perfect: it blends in seamlessly and I never have to worry about looking like a ghost in the hours after application."

A bonus: it has a matte finish, meaning that it can double as a primer and save you a step in your pre-makeup skincare routine.

<p><a href="https://www.blackgirlsunscreen.com/product/make-it-matte-spf-45/" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Make It Matte™ SPF 45</p><p>blackgirlsunscreen.com</p><p>$21.99</p><span class="copyright">blackgirlsunscreen.com</span>

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Make It Matte™ SPF 45

blackgirlsunscreen.com

$21.99

blackgirlsunscreen.com

Anthelios Melt-In Sunscreen Milk SPF 60

"It’s all about the base. I look for creamy formulas that are hydrating," says dermatologist Ranella Hirsch, MD, FAAD. This cream formula has an average of 4.6 stars on Amazon with over 11,000 ratings, and reviewers with sensitive skin love how it leaves their skin feeling velvety soft.

Though I wake up a little greasy in the morning, my skin dries out after showering—must be that New York water," says WH commerce editor, Jasmine Gomez. "I love this sunscreen because it hydrates my skin, giving it a healthy glow that also makes a great base for my makeup."

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002CML1VG?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C2140.g.27332336%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Anthelios Melt-In Sunscreen Milk SPF 60</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$31.19</p><span class="copyright">Courtesy</span>

Beach Defense Sunscreen Stick SPF 50

"Neutrogena's sunscreen stick is great product for those on the run," says Dr. Goldenberg. It's easy to apply or reapply and has SPF 50 with water-resistance, so people with active lifestyles really love it—just check the 5,000 positive ratings on Amazon.

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HNSSV0S?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C2140.g.27332336%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Beach Defense Sunscreen Stick SPF 50</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$8.89</p><span class="copyright">Courtesy</span>

Eryfotona Ageless SPF 50

"Isdin's SPF contains ‘repairsomes,’ which help with reversing sun damage in skin cells," says Dr. Goldenberg. That makes this a great pick for anyone who has some hyperpigmentation or sun spots, especially because the formula has a glowy, tinted finish.

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07ZZFYNKL?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C2140.g.27332336%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Eryfotona Ageless SPF 50</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$75.00</p><span class="copyright">Courtesy</span>

Invisible Shield Full Physical SPF 52

Senté Invisible Shield has both a tinted and untinted option, both of which are quick to absorb and have a weightless feel on the skin, according to dermatologist Corey L. Hartman, MD, FAAD. "An added bonus is that this formula contains an advanced antioxidant blend that protects against high-energy visible or blue light," he adds.

<p><a href="https://go.redirectingat.com?id=74968X1596630&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.skinstore.com%2Fsente-invisible-shield-full-physical-spf-52-tinted-1.8-oz.%2F12902887.html&sref=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.womenshealthmag.com%2Fbeauty%2Fg27332336%2Fbest-sunscreen%2F" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Invisible Shield Full Physical SPF 52</p><p>Skinstore</p><p>$38.00</p><span class="copyright">Courtesy</span>

Anthelios Kids Gentle Lotion SPF 50

If you need something that'll last through an intense indoor or outdoor workout, assistant social media editor, Isabel McMahon, thinks this should be your go-to since it's water- and sweat-resistant for up to 80 minutes.

"I put this on before I play outdoor basketball, and because it is SPF 50, I never have to worry about sun damage,"she says. "I also have fairly sensitive skin, but this formula is dermatologist-tested and safe for kids and has never given me any trouble."

That said, McMahon's only con is that, even though there's a fragrance-free claim on the label, it still "has a typical sunscreen smell, though its not overpowering."

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0BMDG8BHX?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C2140.g.27332336%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Anthelios Kids Gentle Lotion SPF 50</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$32.99</p><span class="copyright">amazon.com</span>

Unrivaled Sun Serum SPF 35

Dr. Farhang recommends the Unrivaled Sun Serum from EleVen by Venus Williams. "It's a great SPF serum that is 100 percent transparent mineral," she says. Since it's a serum, it's another super lightweight formula that people with oilier skin types love.

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/EleVen-Venus-Williams-Unrivaled-Cruelty-Free/dp/B08JVMYDWP/ref=sr_1_5?crid=3AYNB96JTW3VE&keywords=EleVen+by+Venus+Williams+spf&qid=1683303999&sprefix=eleven+by+venus+williams+spf%2Caps%2C119&sr=8-5&tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C2140.g.27332336%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Unrivaled Sun Serum SPF 35</p><p>$48.00</p><span class="copyright">Courtesy</span>

transparent Tint Broad Spectrum SPF 45

A personal favorite of dermatologist Candace Spann, MD, she likes that PCA Skin's SPF offers SPF protection with a high-tech tint. It's been specifically formulated to adapt to your skin tone once you rub it in, so it's suitable for a wide range of complexions.

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/PCA-SKIN-Mattifying-Sunscreen-Protection/dp/B01GAE4HN0/ref=sr_1_2?crid=2WCVLN3XW78JL&keywords=pca+skin+Sheer+Tint+Broad+Spectrum+SPF+45&qid=1683304565&sprefix=pca+skin+sheer+tint+broad+spectrum+spf+45%2Caps%2C129&sr=8-2&tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C2140.g.27332336%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>transparent Tint Broad Spectrum SPF 45</p><p>Skinstore</p><p>$54.00</p><span class="copyright">Courtesy</span>

Sunforgettable Brush-On Shield SPF 50

Dry sunscreen is perfect for reapplication over makeup, especially if you tend to run a bit oily. “I have very fair and sensitive skin, so if I go more than a few hours without reapplying sunscreen, I'll burn up quickly," says WH associate news editor, Charlotte Walsh. "This is the perfect midday touch-up. I'll apply it over my makeup a few hours after I originally applied sunscreen, and it keeps me protected all day. Plus, there's no shiny cast like with many other sun protectants, leaving me with a matte complexion!"

According to Dr. Campbell, sunscreen should always be reapplied every two hours. "This allows reapplications without messing up makeup," she adds. "Plus, it travels well."

<p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Colorescience-Sunforgettable-Mineral-Sunscreen-Brush/dp/B00RM4R0K0?tag=syn-yahoo-20&ascsubtag=%5Bartid%7C2140.g.27332336%5Bsrc%7Cyahoo-us" rel="nofollow noopener" target="_blank" data-ylk="slk:Shop Now;elm:context_link;itc:0;sec:content-canvas" class="link ">Shop Now</a></p><p>Sunforgettable Brush-On Shield SPF 50</p><p>amazon.com</p><p>$69.00</p><span class="copyright">Courtesy</span>

Meet the experts:

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Is sunscreen alone enough to do the trick?

Probably not. Sunscreen works best when paired with physical protection measures such as hats, shirts, and seeking shade, according to Dr. Goldenberg. They all have to work together to shield skin from the sun's harmful rays.

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How do I pick the best sunscreen for my skin type?

You’ll want to keep an eye out for certain key phrases on the label. “If you have sensitive skin, look for ‘fragrance-free’ and ‘hypoallergenic’ formulas,” advises Dr. Nussbaum. “If you’re acne-prone, look for a sunscreen that’s ‘non-comedogenic’ and oil-free. For more sensitive skin types, I recommend using a physical, mineral-based sunscreen with ingredients like zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as chemical sunscreens are more likely to cause skin irritation.”

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